News – “Mexico City’s Street Food Vendors Regroup and Return After the Earthquake”

eater.comCondesa is to Mexico City what the Mission District is to San Francisco: a vibrant neighborhood popping with hot restaurants, boutiques, and bars. It’s at the heart of Mexico City’s hipster dining scene, and is home to restaurants like acclaimed chef Gabriela Cámara’s hit seafood destination, Contramar.

The ongoing gentrification in Condesa and the nearby Roma neighborhood started back in the early 2000s and, as the demographics have changed, street vendors have struggled to maintain their place in the social and economic structure of the community. Just last summer, the government issued an order to shut down at least 200 food stands in the area close to the nearby subway stations. Nonetheless, street-food vending is an essential part of Mexico’s culture, and in Condesa, it’s not uncommon to see stands on the corners of the main avenues.

But walking around Condesa feels different now. On September 19, a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit Mexico City, causing major damage to at least 223 buildings in the Condesa, Hipódromo Condesa, and Roma Norte neighborhoods, according to official city government reports. This is a busy commercial area, and the economic impact of the quake has been assessed by local geography and statistics institute INEGI totaling at least 487.8 million pesos (roughly $26.74 million USD).

Two weeks later, Avenida Amsterdam — one of the neighborhood’s most popular streets, filled with coffee shops, restaurants, and bars — still has several areas blocked to pedestrians and residents with yellow security tape. Here, a window is broken; on the other side of the street, a building has collapsed; and a few feet ahead, the facade of an apartment looks like it could come down any minute. The scene repeats itself in every block. Army personnel walk the streets and are stationed at every other corner; some of them are drinking coffee, chatting, or looking at their cell phones. Others direct traffic and access to the sites where cleaning efforts are still taking place.

Today, two out of three restaurants located close to collapsed buildings are open, although they’re almost empty. The Condesa community is shaken, but it is attempting to return to normality. People of all walks of life come together in this neighborhood, and the street vendors are very much a part of the everyday scene. They, too, are trying to pick up the pieces after the quake.

No jokes here, this is just a dope story and I’m glad to hear that their getting back to their way of life! 

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